Playing is an important part of a cat’s life but it can be a painful activity for a cat with feline stomatitis. Have you ever thought about how much a cat uses her mouth during play? I’ll admit that I didn’t, but that changed after we found out Lily had stomatitis. I watched her and realized that she (and all our cats) caught toys with her mouth or picked them up with her mouth to toss and chase, and I had to be very careful about what she played with to avoid causing her pain.
Watching Lily cry out in pain while playing is when I started looking for toys that were safe for her to play with. Below is a list of toys that are safe for stomatitis kitties to play with. They have all passed the Lily test and didn’t cause her any pain when stomatitis was still active, and they are also loved by all of our cats.
Second, all a cat chases is light. There is absolutely nothing of her to put in her mouth so this is as safe a toy as you can get. Plus, this toy is great at helping a cat get out her excess energy.
The best type of laser pointers for cats are the kind you hold, like the type you would use at a business meeting. Skip the ones that are made specifically for cats. I’ve tried them and cats lose interest in them very quickly. The kind you hold is better because you control the beam of light, which makes the motion of the light completely unpredictable and irresistible to cats!
Circle Track Toy
Another favorite in our home is a toy that is a round tube with holes in it. Inside the tube is a ball that goes around the tube when pushed. Cats can put their paws in the holes to try and get the ball, and when they do this they end up pushing the ball, causing the ball to go around and around.
Our cats love this toy! Sometimes I wonder if they will ever figure out that they can never catch the ball but they don’t seem to care.
There are a variety of styles for this type of toy and we’ve tried several of them. I personally recommend ones that are similar in size and shape to the one seen here. That is the one our cats like best. I haven’t tried the ones that look like long, curvy lines or circling pyramids so I have no opinion on those. We have one that is in the shape of a figure eight and our cats are mildly interested in that one.
You might see some of these track toys that have feathers or other items on a rod for cats to swat and play with. I would avoid those because cats will grab them with their mouths, which can hurt stomatitis cats.
Circle Track Toy
Ping Pong Balls
Someone told me that her cats love to play with ping pong balls, something that I had never thought of. I bought a pack of ping pong balls for my cats, curious to know if they would like playing with them. Four of our five cats don’t seem to know what to do with the balls, possibly because they’ve never seen ball toys before, but the one cat that took to the balls right away was Lily.
As soon as she saw the ping pong ball that I rolled towards her Lily pounced on it and batted at it. Lily also curled her body around the ball she had caught with her front paws and scratched at the ball with her feet, just like a cat would do when attacking prey. She thought it was an awesome toy, and I see the value of these balls as safe toys for cats with feline stomatitis.
I bought the orange colored balls that you see here. My thinking was that it would be easier for me to find them when the cats roll them under furniture. In the short time that I have had these I am glad that I bought the orange ones. I was easily able to see the ball Lily lost under our bed and, a little later, under a dresser. The orange was just bright enough to draw my attention to it.
Ping Pong Balls
Pony Tail Holder
Would you believe that pony tail holders make great cat toys? Yes, it’s true! I know this because I have two girls who use pony tail holders and they sometimes leave them out where our cats find them. I often find pony tail holders (we call them ponies) on the ground after our cats finish playing with them.
Our cats play with these two different ways. Sometimes they swat the ponies across our tile floor. They glide pretty far, which gives the cats something to chase after. Of course, they often end up under our refrigerator or oven buy I have a long, empty plastic Pixie Stick candy container that I use to get them out from under my appliances.
The other way our cats play with these is by picking up the ponies with their mouths and tossing them in the air. Although I recommend not using toys that cats can put in their mouths I think these are safe. They are small and round, without any sharp edges. It is very unlikely that these will cause pain. Fortunately, if cats do experience pain they still have the option of batting at them on the ground.
The thickness of the bands doesn’t seem to matter – our cats love them all. However, you might want to use colorful bands instead of black or brown ones to make it easier to find them around your house.
Pony Tail Holders
So, there you are – three toys that are safe, but fun, for cats to play with that won’t cause them mouth pain. Before I go I want to urge you to avoid one of the most popular types of cat toys. Cats absolutely love the kind of toys that have a feather or toy on the end of a string or wire that is attached to a long rod. Although they love them, cats almost always end up putting the feathers or toys in their mouths. Even worse, cats can get the string or wire caught in their mouths and this has the possibility of causing extreme pain. Avoid these at all costs for as long as your cat is suffering from active stomatitis.
Here is a picture of our cat Sid with the type of toy you should avoid, especially if it has wire: